Producer and songwriter Hannah V scored a top 10 album thanks to her writing and production on JP Cooper’s Raised Under Grey Skies, and she’s also worked with Stormzy, Rhianna, Jessie J and Jason Derulo. Her latest solo release is EP No Limit, and we caught up with her to find out more about the tunes, including its guests.
This is the beauty of music, chance meetings can lead to immediate, unexpected and powerful pieces of art!
First up, what got you into music?
I took classical piano lessons as a kid and fell in love with jazz as a teenager. I was very fortunate to go to a school with a great music programme, so I played In choirs, bands, orchestras, ensembles, everything!! The progression to becoming a professional musician felt very natural.
**Were there any particular bands or artists you took inspiration from? **
My influences when I was younger were very eclectic, similar to now! I was listening to Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Nas, Biggie, etc.
How would you describe your style?
My style, like my upbringing, is really a mixture of the different cultures I was part of. Indian girl, growing up in Germany, going to an American school and ending up in London - that’s what my music sounds like!! There are a lot of jazz elements in my music with the piano usually being featured. I like bass heavy, beats driven tracks, but also like to sneak in a high level of musicality into my songs.
If you could collaborate with any living artist, who would you choose?
There are so many amazing artists out there, that I can’t choose! I would have absolutely loved to work with Aretha Franklin, her records taught me so much about songwriting, arrangement and piano playing.
Other artists on my bucket list are H.E.R, Rihanna (I would love to produce for her, after having been in her band!), M.I.A, Childish Gambino, Kendrick Lamar, Daniel Caeser, Yebba, Chris Stapleton, Post Malone, Dr Dre, etc - the list is truly endless.
Tell us about your new EP No Limit. What’s it about?
My EP, No Limit, is a celebration of boldness and individuality. It encourages everyone to not conform to social norms; instead forge your path, break down barriers and keep it moving! The EP is also a true testament of team work and friendship, with people close to my heart contributing to the tracks. Producing and writing this project has stretched me as a musician and a person, I could not be prouder of the final product!
When did you write it, and where did you record it?
The EP was written and recorded in my studio in Hoxton over the last few years, alongside the talented featured artists on the project.
Can you talk us through each track and who the guests are?
‘Bangles’ features my very good friend Ama Schreyer. Ama featured on my first ever single ‘Version 2.0’, so the friendship runs deep. This track was influenced by my recent trip to India and talks about ‘Bangles’. Jewellery is very symbolic in my culture and I wear a lot of it, so this track is a nod to that.
‘No Limit’ features Shystie and Pepper Rose. Both again are great friends of mine, we have spent countless hours in the studio talking, laughing and creating. This is the title track to my EP - the sentiment of this track is very important to me - there is no limit to what we can achieve!
‘Liberate Yourself’ features the powerhouse Misha B. Misha and I again have been working for years. Fun fact - she recorded this vocal in one take!
The lyrics again reflect the ethos of the entire EP - at some point we all have to shake off that feeling of ‘not fitting in’ and just unapologetically be ourselves!
‘No’ features the amazing Pepper Rose for the second time on the EP. Pepper and i have a very special musical relationship - it’s fire and flames whenever we get together! The way Pepper writes on my beats is just so swaggy! I love this track - the way the beat and Pepper’s lyrics and delivery come together is so special. This track again celebrates individuality - ‘You cannot do like me, No’
‘What Does It Mean’ is an interlude featuring Nicky Brown. I am very fortunate to work in a studio complex with a lot of amazing musicians, producers and artists - Nicky Brown is a producer, pianist, organ player, choir director and just an all round G! We worked together on the JP Cooper tracks I produced. Nicky often gives me pep talks - I was lucky to capture this one. I knew I had to include it on the EP, as Nicky’s words of wisdom needed to be heard by everyone! I set his talk to music and the interlude was born.
‘They Don’t Matter features Cherri V and Mike Ellison. This track is the most musical track on the project and really delves in my jazz background with the chords, time signature, string arrangements etc. Cherri V and I have been friends for a very long time, we toured together for a while, so our relationship is very special. When Cherri heard the beat, she more or less immediately had an idea for the melody and lyrics and wrote the song in 20 mins!!
Mike Ellison happened to pass by the studio a few days later, we had never met and he was due to fly back to the states the next morning. He heard the track and immediately starting writing a spoken word piece over it - we recorded his part later on that day. This is the beauty of music, chance meetings can lead to immediate, unexpected and powerful pieces of art!
What are you hopes for ‘No Limit’?
I would love the listeners to be able to relate to this record. I ultimately want my music to fill people with strength and hope, music has gotten me through many a bad day and I really hope my music can assist people in a similar way.
What other plans do you have for the rest of the year?
I just want to continue making music with great artists! It would be amazing to sneak in some travelling on the job as well.
Finally, if you could wish for one thing to happen for you this year, what would it be?
I would love to visit the motherland again!! I had a beautiful trip travelling and visiting family in India earlier this year and can not wait to get back and make some music there!
Watch the video for ‘No Limits’ on YouTube below. For news, go to the Hannah V Facebook page.